The Moon is steadily Decreasing, Resulting in wrinkling on Its Own surface and quakes, Based on an analysis of imagery captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) published Monday.
Unlike our world, the Moon doesn’t have tectonic plates; rather, its tectonic activity occurs as it slowly loses heat from as it was formed 4.5 billion decades back.
This in turn causes its surface to wrinkle, very similar to a grape that shrivels into a raisin.
Since the moon’s crust is brittle, these forces cause its surface to crack because the interior shrinks, resulting in so-called thrust faults, where one section of crust is pushed upward within an adjacent section.
As a result, the Moon has become about 150 feet (50 meters)”skinnier” over the last several hundred thousand decades.
The Apollo astronauts first began measuring seismic activity on the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, discovering the vast majority were occurred deep within the human body’s interior while a smaller amount were on its own surface.
The study has been published in Nature Geoscience and examined the shallow moonquakes listed from the Apollo missions, demonstrating connections between them and very youthful surface features.
“It is quite likely that the faults are still active today,” explained Nicholas Schmerr, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Maryland who co-authored the study.
“You don’t often get to view active tectonics everywhere but Earth, so it is very exciting to believe these faults might still be producing moonquakes.”